The Nissan GT-R NISMO has always been the culmination of two of Nissan’s most important nameplates: GT-R and NISMO. Entering its 51st season in 2021, the GT-R nameplate represents five decades of history, pedigree, success in racing & a global fan following.
NISMO, its name derived from NISsan MOtorsports International Co. is known worldwide as Nissan’s in-house tuning arm that pursues performance at a maniacal level by perfecting the smallest of details. True to its proud heritage, the GT-R NISMO is a more extreme, track-oriented version of the GT-R that has matured through rigorous refinements, becoming sharper and more rewarding as a street car.
The GT-R NISMO was extensively enhanced for the 2020 model year with new race-proven turbochargers, improved gearbox shift control, lighter components, reduced overall mass & upgrades to the brakes, wheels & tires. The result was a 2.5-second reduction in lap time around Nissan’s development track, along with an improvement of the GT-R’s inherent high-speed stability, even at speeds of up to 186 mph.
For 2021, the numerous changes for the 50th anniversary year continue into GT-R’s next decade of automotive excellence.
GT3 Turbos for the 600-horsepower VR38DETT V6:
Racing improves the breed and that is very much the case with the 2021 GT-R NISMO and its legendary 3.8-liter V6 VR38DETT engine. As with all GT-R models, each GT-R NISMO engine is hand-assembled from beginning to end in a special clean room by meticulously trained technicians, with an aluminum plate added to the front of each engine showing the name of the individual Takumi engine craftsman.
The MY21 GT-R utilizes the same turbochargers developed for the GT3 race car version of the GT-R. They employ a 10-vane turbine wheel – one fewer vane than the 2019 model – & the vanes are 0.3 millimeters thinner. This accounts for a 14.5% reduction in mass, therefore inertia by 24%, allowing for faster response. To counteract having one less vane – which would normally reduce flow rate – a special back plate was created to prevent exhaust gases from flowing behind the turbine blades. This drastically improves flow efficiency. Through the latest fluid & stress analysis, special attention was given to the actual design & profile of the vanes. The new shape optimizes efficiency with exhaust gases to boost flow rate resulting in improved boost response & acceleration as well as in gear “pickup” in any situation.
For example, when accelerating from 68 mph & 4,000 rpm in fourth gear (manual mode), the response is immediate and instantly felt – showing an engine response improvement of 20% (versus the pre-2020 GT-R NISMO). As the driver increases throttle pressure, from 0% opening to wide open throttle. The result is a sharper feeling that further enhances the overall character of the engine. Again for 2021, the engine is rated at 600 horsepower & 481 lb-ft of torque. In addition, the standard titanium exhaust system was revised in 2020 to provide a more emphatic – yet not intrusive – tone coming through to the cabin. Handcrafted burnished tips are a signature touch of the lightweight system.
The GT-R NISMO’s revised 6-speed dual-clutch transmission (versus the 2019 design) features a refined “R mode” that now shifts gears more aggressively & intuitively – thanks to a new algorithm for the adaptive shift control (ASC). This selects the best gear for any driving scenario & can especially be felt during braking & approach into a corner. Where the driveline feels more precise, with faster downshift reactions to help reduce understeer on entry. Engine speed is also kept at a higher rate – thanks to lower gear engagement – with acceleration improved when powering out of a corner.
Aerodynamics, Design & a Hefty Dose of Carbon Fiber:
With aerodynamic gains in mind, the design of the GT-R NISMO evolved for the last model year with all the changes completely functional. Cooling was increased for key areas – engine bay & brakes – all without negatively affecting the drag coefficient value of 0.26.
Further setting the most potent & exclusive of all GT-Rs apart from non-NISMO models is the amount of carbon fiber found throughout the car. Most components are lighter compared to the GT-R Premium model including the front and rear bumpers, front fenders (-10 pounds), hood (-4.4 pounds), roof (-8.8 pounds), side sill covers, trunk & rear spoiler. Each component was been improved to cut weight, increase downforce along with the enhanced aerodynamics.
The most significant piece of carbon fiber application is the roof. The carbon fiber roof removes a substantial amount of weight, lowering the car’s center of gravity for a crisper, more satisfying handling & feel. The roof panel itself is made by using a world-first technique of combining a ‘Prepreg Compression Molding’ process with a carbon plate & lightweight hard foam sandwich structure. This gives the carbon structure a tighter & lighter weave, improving sound insulation – oh, & a striking appearance. Other changes in the carbon fiber construction are the NACA ducts on the hood which are now incorporated into the composite structure.
The GT3 GT-R racecar heavily inspired the design of the GT-R NISMO front fenders. Their sport louvers increase front downforce by 15 pound-force without creating additional drag. The wind tunnel-tested vented fenders also help smooth airflow along the rest of the body & avoid creating turbulence at the rear wing, promoting even greater high-speed stability. As a multi-functional feature, they also help funnel hot pressurized air out & away from the engine bay.
Color choices for the 2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO include Solid Red, Jet Black Pearl, Super Silver QuadCoat (premium color) & Pearl White TriCoat (premium color). All color schemes feature black side mirrors that differentiate the car from the GT-R Premium.
Brembo Calipers Meet Carbon Ceramic Rotors:
Nissan collaborated with Italian brake manufacturer Brembo to create a special brake package for the GT-R NISMO.
Special large calipers – 16.1 inches in the front & 15.3 inches at the rear – join carbon ceramic rotors.
The six-piston front & four-piston rear calipers are exceptionally rigid. Their construction brings a significant improvement to brake reaction time – versus pre-2020 models. This delivers a more responsive & progressive brake pedal, full of feedback to allow precise modulation of braking force. The result is the ability to shed speed quicker & more effectively while staying resistant to fade.
The biggest advantage comes from the carbon & silicon carbide structure of the rotors themselves, this allows . They allow for a 36-pound total drop in unsprung weight. Mounted on floating aluminum billet center bells, the rotor and oversized caliper setup is finished off by specially formulated brake pads that generate higher friction levels across the full operational range. The pads also give a firmer, more reassuring pedal feel.
Front rotor cooling has also been improved by altering the angle in which the air guides are mounted, helping funnel a higher flow of air toward their centers. As a final touch, the calipers are dipped in a heat-resistant yellow paint that is not only able to endure temperatures over 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit but is resistant to discoloring from hard use & repeated temperature cycling.
Handling, Grip & Steering Redefined:
The 2021 GT-R NISMO’s suspension tuning improves cornering stability (lateral G), with enhanced yaw-rate response & smoother ride quality (versus the 2019 model). The steering features better linearity & precision than ever, requiring minimal corrections even at speeds reaching 186 mph.
The exclusive 20-inch RAYS forged aluminum wheels incorporate a nine-spoke design that enhances rigidity. A diamond-cut white-and-red NISMO logo on the rim marks their exclusivity.
The specially designed Dunlop tires feature a rubber compound that helps boost grip by 7% & a tread pattern with one fewer groove for the fronts increasing the contact patch by 11% (versus the 2019 model). The tire’s shoulder shape is slightly rounder so that when the car leans during cornering, more rubber surface makes contact with the ground generating more grip – overall, tire cornering force is up by 5%. This also improves the steering response in terms of straight-line tracking & stability compared with the current model without impacting rolling resistance performance.
The car’s Bilstein DampTronic shocks were carefully retuned in both rebound (20% softer) & compression (5% softer), while the revised spring rates contribute to a more linear steering response & increase in road-holding ability (versus the 2019 model). Attention to detail continues right down to the chassis & its construction. A special type of bonding between the welds on the chassis and body results in a sturdier-feeling chassis, more composure over imperfections and more precision through all controls when pushing the car hard.
Hip-Hugging Comfort Inside:
Inside the cabin, unique to GT-R NISMO are the leather-appointed RECARO seats with red synthetic suede inserts. Ergonomically sculpted, heated & reclining seats comfortably, yet firmly, supporting the driver & front-seat passenger. Interior trim features include discreet red stitching on the seats, center console, door trim & steering wheel.
NISMO racers influenced the design of the dark gray with red stripe steering wheel, with three spokes, red center mark & red stitching to give a strong combination of grip, feedback & comfort. A large 8-inch touch-panel monitor featuring large icons on the display screen make it simple to use, while a display command control on the carbon fiber center console allows easy operation without having to touch the monitor. As with the 2021 GT-R Premium model, the GT-R NISMO’s instrument panel is dominated by a video game-inspired, multi-function display that was created in collaboration with Polyphony Digital, makers of the Gran Turismo electronic game.
Standard features on the 2021 GT-R NISMO include :
- NissanConnect Services powered by SiriusXM (subscription required, sold separately).
- Nissan Navigation System.
- Apple CarPlay integration.
- An 8.0-inch color display with multi-touch control, voice recognition for navigation & audio.
- HD Radio.
- SiriusXM Radio.
- SiriusXM Traffic.
- SiriusXM Travel Link – weather, fuel prices, movie listings, stock info & sports. A subscription is required & sold separately.
- An 11-speaker Bos® audio system.
Also standard are Bluetooth Hands-free Phone System, Streaming Audio via Bluetooth & Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant. A Display Command control on the carbon-fiber center console allows easy operation without having to touch the monitor.
Only one interior color combination is available, NISMO-specific black leather appointments with red accents. The seat inserts are Red Synthetic Suede & there is Dark Gray Alcantara on the steering wheel, instrument panel & headliner.
The 2021 Nissan GT-R NISMO is offered in one fully equipped model.
There are no available options.